British Journal of Nutrition

Full Papers

Association of fast food consumption with energy intake, diet quality, body mass index and the risk of obesity in a representative Mediterranean population

Helmut Schrödera1 c1, Montserrat Fïtoa1 and Maria Isabel Covasa1 on behalf of the REGICOR investigators

a1 Lipids and Cardiovascular Epidemiology Research Unit, Institut Municipal d'Investigació Mèdica, IMIM-Hospital de Mar, Biomedical Research Park - Parc de Recerca Biomèdica de Barcelona - PRBB, c/Doctor Aiguader 88, 08003 Barcelona, Spain


The aim of the present study was to describe the association of fast food consumption with BMI, energy intake and diet quality in a Mediterranean population. The subjects were Spanish men (n 1491) and women (n 1563) aged 25–74 years who were examined in 1999–2000, in a population-based cross-sectional survey in northeast Spain (Girona). Dietary intake was assessed using a FFQ that included four typical fast food items. Two dietary-quality indices, the Mediterranean diet score and the healthy eating index, were created. Height and weight were measured. Within the population studied, 10·1 % reported eating fast food at least once per month. Dietary energy intake and energy density were directly associated with frequency of fast food consumption. Multivariate logistic regression analysis adjusted for lifestyle and educational level showed an inverse association of frequency of fast food consumption with meeting the dietary reference intake (DRI) for energy (P = 0·001). The consumption of fast food more than once per week increased the risk of overall low diet quality (P < 0·001). BMI was directly associated with fast food consumption expressed in g/d (P = 0·025) and in kJ/d (P = 0·017). The risk of being obese increased with the frequency of fast food consumption (P = 0·046). Fast food consumption was associated with higher energy intakes, poor diet quality and higher BMI. The likelihood of not meeting the DRI for energy, and of being obese, increased with the frequency of fast food consumption.

(Received February 23 2007)

(Revised May 08 2007)

(Accepted May 24 2007)


c1 Corresponding author: Dr Helmut Schröder, fax:+34 93 3160 410, email